All smiles. After a few seasons on the air, the Muppets transitioned to their first feature length film, and in their trademark meta way, they travel to Hollywood to strike it rich. Only trouble is that there is entrepreneur in the frog leg restaurant business, and he wants the Muppet ringleader, Kermit, all for himself. It appears that I am experiencing the Muppets a bit ass backwards; the very first movie I watched of theirs was 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted, so at this rate, I’ll probably watch the television series from the 70’s and 80’s in about three years. They really do have tons working for them on multiple levels, and they have lots of appeal for both adults and kids. For one thing, the music is well-done and wholly memorable. In the first thirty minutes alone, you get the full range of what this crew is capable of; this movie opens with the heartwarming “Rainbow Connection”, and shortly thereafter, it is followed by the laugh-out-loud hysterical “Movin’ Right Along”. These are the kind of numbers that make you want to listen to the soundtrack long after you’ve walked away from the movie.
Every single one of these puppets has charm for days. Apart from Kermit, all of the Muppets are given plenty to do, and they get wild like the party animals that they are, realizing the proper amount of crazy to play off of the straight “man” that Kermit plays. They fully realize how ridiculous this is, and they never hesitate to escalate it to the next level, like during the driving sequence where a car ends up balancing perfectly upside down on top of the car that the Muppets are behind the wheel of.
I really only have the most recent movie to compare this to, and while they did go completely hog-wild with cameos in the most recent movie, they’ve been doing this since movie number one. One of the standout scenes in this features Steve Martin serving Kermit and Miss Piggy on a date, and you know everything you need to know by seeing that he is credited on IMDb as “Insolent Waiter”. As per their routine, there is lots and lots of 4th wall breaking, which leads to puns galore, some of which will make you laugh, and some of which will make you eye roll. The thing about these Muppets is that they are putting on a legitimate show, and from a showmanship standpoint, this is actually quite impressive. Because of that, the Muppet Movie is very much worth being familiar with.
The Muppet Movie (1979) ****
– Critic for Hire